Category Archives: 60+

INSIGHT : Jeans for the over 55s – One woman’s opinion

The quote below was originally going to be posted on the dailymail.co.uk website in response to the feature : 

How to be a jean-ius: We challenge three women to find the perfect pair of jeans on the High Street

….but I persuaded the writer (female, 60+, young at heart, interested in fashion) to let me use it on my blog instead!

“I feel sure that women of a certain age or shape are desperate to find jeans that suit them. Many of us after 55 have a few bulges and none of us want that fat hanging over the drop waist of our jeans. Worse is when we bend down, the back goes even lower exposing parts we hope won’t  be seen! I recently spent a desperate day trying on jeans in half a dozen Brand shops.  I am a 12 – 14 depending on the make, and again what has happened to sizing?  Some of the jeans were so tight on the leg that I couldn’t get them past my knees but the upper part would have easily fit. The only ones I finally found were at M&S.  ‘Per Una’ – good fabric and they just sit on the waist with a choice of shapes, they were by far the best for me. The slight element of stretch fabric within is ideal. The £12 pairs at M&S seem a good shape too and if one doesn’t have a midriff to show off it surely it doesn’t matter about the ‘Sits on the Waist’. Mine will be certainly be covered! I wonder how many of you have encountered the same problem.”

INSIGHT : What I Ate Today – English consumer

Carolyn, 60

Lives : London

Size 14

Breakfast 

1 Croissant (plain, Tesco’s bakery) 

1 Cappuccino (takeout from Paul, semi-skimmed milk)

1 Bowl of fruit and dollop of natural yoghurt (grapes, 1 pear, low-fat Yeo Valley yoghurt)

Mid-Morning

1 Instant coffee with milk (semi-skimmed)

Lunch

1 Humous and ham sandwich (homemade, using Sainsbury’s white bread, wafer thin ham and reduced fat humous plus thin layer of unsalted Lurpak butter)

Pre-Dinner

1 Glass of white wine (Hardys Crest Chardonnay)

Dinner (Fireworks event followed by dinner at a Thai restaurant)

1 1/2 Plastic cups mulled wine 

Few sips of Singha beer

2 Glasses of water

1 Tom Kha with prawns (Thai soup with coconut milk)

1 Weeping Tiger with beef (marinated meat Thai dish served sizzling)

Is this typical of what you eat most days?

More or less – I only drink mulled wine around Christmas time!

What did you eat today? 

TREND : The rise of the older woman

In a world obsessed by youth and recreating youth, it was refreshing to see that the film Sex and The City – which revolves around a 40+ group of friends – prompted such excitement and positive feedback across an age-diverse, (if albeit, predominantly female) audience.  Unlike the dumbed down, tracksuit wearing, ugg shuffling, ‘The Hills’ and other youth reality-based TV shows, the SATC film – a spin off from the tv series – entertained us with wit, wisdom, emotion and interesting characters (no vacant conversations)  – not to mention a fabulous display of sartorial splendour!

Is this another indicator which marks the rise of the older woman?  I’m excited to see that times are changing and we are definitely seeing and admiring more women who are 50+ – who look great and are doing inspirational and motivational things – in business, in family, in relationships (toyboys on the rise), and in general life decisions.  My mum has just announced that she’s going to move to London (from Devon), because “Devon is killing me it’s so boring, I need to be in London where it’s all happening”.  She recently phoned to say that she’s talking to a friend about sharing a flat – maybe with a male friend too.  My mum is going to be living like a student again – minus the homework and out-of-a-can cooking!.

Recently I’ve looked at a couple of  great websites aimed specifically at an ‘older women’.

http://www.wowowow.com – a group of stylish, intelligent contributors deliver fun, engaging posts about life, love and a huge range of other topics

http://www.agreenertea.com – a site for the 35+ women dedicated to facing and accepting the aging process with strength and beauty – the beauty reviews are well thought out and insightful 

I also recently read an article about Polly Devlin, a 65 year old mother of three, ex-journalist and writer who is enjoying a whole new lease of life thanks to a part-time job opportunity offered to her at an American University.  For four months of the year, she up-stakes from her Somerset country home to the buzz and image-obsessed city of NYC, where she leads a glamorous and dynamic life of cocktail-sipping, clothes shopping, manicures and blow dries. It’s a far cry from her dowdy, country living where self-indulgence meant buying a new pair of wellies.  Read how she relishes her New York lifestyle and what positive changes have been brought about by the move. 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1024563/From-quiet-Somerset-country-life–New-York-Sex-And-The-City.html

At any age it’s brave to go to a new city and build a fun, meaningful life for yourself – more so when you’re leaving behind a husband, friends and a family home.  Life is all about perception, and in Western Society we tend to perceive that getting older signals the end of opportunity and good experiences. However, more than ever we are seeing women in the 50+ age group challenging convention and empowering themselves with energy, health, good looks and a whole new lifestyle. I hope this will change attitudes in the media and bring older women to our attention – through the screen and advertising. 

Back to the Barn

INSIGHT : Over 50s fashion whinge

I am constantly amazed that fashion doesn’t really cater for the over 50’s, or even the over 45’s.  I am desperately tired of trying to buy clothes that are really for teens and twenty-somethings.  I mean at 60, why on earth would I be tempted to buy an Empire line top, frilled top, or one with puff sleeves? I have to admit, it isn’t something I would have bought even at 18.  I just can’t understand it.  Surely I can’t be the only one with this problem?

The worst thing I tried recently was a blouse with gathers on the shoulders going down to a full bell type sleeve which ended in a tight rolled cotton cuff and a button, the effect was ghastly.  I am slim but not thin, and I have fairly broad shoulders and an ample bust, so none of the above looks even reasonable.

The next whinge is the shape of most t-shirts which all seem to be too fitted.  I don’t want a t-shirt that clings to my body.  I want one that sits squarely, falling straight from under the arms, and hangs nicely just below the waist.  This is flattering for the older woman and designers should prick up their ears to my complaint.  Also – I’m not in the minority with ‘not great upper arms’, so why oh why can’t sleeves fall just a little bit longer.  I have been buying men’s t-shirts that have this extra length.  

I recently had lunch with a group of women friends and we got chatting about this problem.  We ALL agreed that the square cut is brilliant not just for the older woman, but for any age who does not have a sylph-like body.  I would like to find a dress that just hangs, not clings, tops that are plain and go with everything, timeless wear- year in year out.  There area couple of designers who do this very kind of shape, one is OSKA  and the other SHIRIN GUILD, both of which are financially inaccessible to most of us.  I would please love a major chainstore such as M&S to stock these items alongside Autograph and Per Una. They would be a sell out. 

Susan Lamb

Back to the Barn

INSIGHT : Have I aged better than her? Five 60-something women speak out about aging and cosmetic surgery

I thought I’d write about an insight I gained after having lunch with my mum and several of her girlfriends.  This group were around the 60 age-mark and all looked great for their age – a bunch of cool babyboomers who were well dressed, fun, younger looking than their real age, and more liberal in the wave of their conversation than some of my peers.

The conversation turned towards cosmetic surgery, a theme spurred by the sighting of an adjacent female diner who’d obviously had a lot of work done to her face, including some very obvious and not so attractive trout pout lips.  This opened a flood of opinionated and animated discourse on aging and cosmetic surgery.

So what did I learn from their comments? 

  • That women particularly in the ‘mature’ bracket check each other out as much as younger women do. 
  • They compare how good or bad they’ve aged in comparison to their friends and people of a similar age – therefore the focus is now ‘have I aged better than her?’ 
  • When a husband compliments a particularly fresh looking friend, the reaction is to tell him that ‘she’s obviously had surgery’. 
  • This was common mentality amongst similar aged and like-minded friends.

And on having cosmetic surgery themselves : 

  • There was a definite pro-surgery attitude provided they were confident that it would look good and natural.  ‘I would have plastic surgery but am terrified that something will go wrong..it’s not the cost or the fact that I want to grow old gracefully – bollocks to that! I just want to do something that will make me look better with no risk”.

Conclusion :

  • That women compete with each other all their lives.
  • Female babyboomers obsess about their own personal beauty issues (in this case aging) as much as teenage girls may obsess about bad skin and dress size. 
  • That women don’t want to grow old gracefully – they want to look good – not tons younger but not old either.
  • That cosmetic surgery is appealing, but the perceived risk of something going wrong is off putting.
  • That there is a huge market for no-risk-of-going-wrong cosmetic procedures.